That curious sound echoing around Kettering this morning was the sound of collective teeth being gnashed as we listened to a sad mare from Corby on the radio casually mention that her club was "bigger and better than Kettering".
As my knee-jerk irritation abated I was forced to admit, she actually had a point. They play in a higher division than us. I can only assume their crowds are larger than ours. They are still in the FA Trophy. They have a ground and we don't. They have a Chairman who seems to have his head screwed on right. We have a twelve year old wannabee, sick in bed, playing Championship Manager 2012 and thinking it's real. Why, they've even got a by-election today. It's a happening place.
Of course, this conveniently ignores the fact that as a team Corby are no further forward than they were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. We may have been the perennial "nearly-men" during our pomp, but Corby have never risen above being background noise in the non-league game. The only times they see a crowd is when either we or Glasgow Rangers are the opponents (they obviously have a thing for clubs run by twats and fallen on hard times!)
Were it not for the heroic efforts of their council CTFC would have disappeared many years ago. By supplying a steady stream of new stadia their council has chosen to keep their club going. Curiously one doesn't hear of much outcry from other sporting bodies within Corby, which our own council believes would be the case were they to ever lift a finger to assist the Poppies. Never overestimate the benefit of having a council who see mileage in having a local team bear the name of their town.
Of course Corby Town aren't bigger than the Poppies. The woman's statement amply proved this. The bigger team is the more magnanimous team. The team that comfortably knows it's place in the overall pecking order, regardless of temporary set-backs or temporary surges. When we allowed Corby to use our ground a few years ago the event barely registered with us. Our rivalry was in name only despite the desperate continued chip-on-shoulder protestations of Corby supporters and bitter sniping.
If you're now the "big club", perhaps it is time to act like it.
As for a merger? We haven't avoided being East Northants FC only to end up as North Northants FC!